Beyonce defends using Challenger disaster audio in song

Beyonce and Challenger Beyonce said the recording had been used as a "tribute" to the Challenger crew

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Singer Beyonce has defended using audio recordings from the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster in a track from her recently released album.

The pop star has been criticised for using clips of an ex-Nasa public affairs officer on her XO track.

"My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Challenger disaster," the singer said in a statement.

The song, she continued, "was recorded with the sincerest intention to help heal those who have lost loved ones".

The use of the recordings, she said, was intended "to remind us that unexpected things happen, so love and appreciate every minute that you have with those who mean the most to you.

"The songwriters included the audio in tribute to the unselfish work of the Challenger crew with hope that they will never be forgotten."

XO, one of the 14 songs on Beyonce's self-titled new album, was written and produced by Ryan Tedder and Terius Nash.

Seven astronauts died on 28 January 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch.

The XO track begins with a recording of Nasa's former public affairs officer Steve Nesbitt referring to "a major malfunction" on the day of the tragedy.

June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee, told ABC News she was "disappointed" that footage from an "emotionally difficult moment" had been used in the song.

Retired Nasa astronaut Clayton Anderson was also critical of the singer, calling the sample "simply insensitive, at the very least".

The former Destiny's Child member was born in 1981 in Houston, home to America's National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

In 2011, she recorded a special greeting for the Atlantis shuttle crew, telling them they "inspire all of us to dare to live our dreams".

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